Feb 24, 2020
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Photo courtesy Marisol Aliene Nevarez

Fresno State senior planning campaign for Madera County election

Among a crowd of people eager to get in to see U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at Fresno City College Nov., a man in a mobility scooter was denied entry into the rally. 

Eddie Block, 43, was told that after waiting for three hours, he would not be allowed to take part in the rally. The organizers, he claims, recognized him from his position with the conservative news source Frontline America. 

Block said that after being denied entry, he went back to his car to grab his red “Make America Great Again” hat and then sat outside the rally premises to report progressive event for the conservative-leaning news outlet Frontline America. 

According to Block, this is not the first time he’s been asked to leave a political event, but he continues to report.. 

Block,like most students, said he is excited to finish his final semester at Fresno State. 

But unlike most students, he is already making his move into the world of politics — not just by showing up at political events.

He is also running for the Madera County District 4 supervisor seat in the upcoming election. 

Early Life 

Block, who is bound to his scooter, was diagnosed with Spina Bifida, which he has had trouble with his whole life.  

Block’s father is and Air Force veteran and fought in the Vietnam War. Block said due to his father’s service, his father exposed to Agent Orange that is linked to causing birth defects. 

After graduating high school, Block decided to hold off on going to college because he believed that school was not for him. Instead, he worked as a plumber. 

That took him around the country, working at different hotels throughout the years.  

In 2008 though, the traveling stopped when he was forced to leave his job due to his health. He went on disability. 

Block said he was unhappy not being able to work, but in that moment finally decided to give college a try. Heenrolled in Madera Center and was president of the Associated Student Government. 

College Life and Front Line

Block now hopes to graduate from Fresno State this fall. As he readied for that, keeps a busy schedule between taking classes in the Mass Communications and Journalism program to working at a conservative radio station. 

According to Block, his time in college also allowed him to become a member of Patriots Table,  a conservative club on campus. According to Block, the mission of the club is to  provide a meeting space for conservative students.

Block claims that some conservative students don’t feel comfortable sharing their opinions.

Block said that Fresno State his own experience has been a mixture of people who give him unpleasant stares for wearing his MAGA hat and of  people who accept his political beliefs. 

One professor, I thought hated me, said she didn’t she didn’t like the hat but she like me as a person.”

Block said during his time in school he has been influenced by Political Science Lecturer Paul Betancourt. 

Betancourt described Block as a model student in his class being both very involved in the lectures and having a passion for politics. 

Betancourt said that he doesn’t feel like he was a major influence on Block because he was a “force of nature” on his own and would have ran for office regardless of him. 

“Even with his disability, he gets his job done. He’s active in school and is passionate about getting involved in his community,” Betancourt said. “He’s smart that he’s running for an open seat and very active in the issues and meeting people. He works in a citizen’s patrol training with the cops and attracting supporters already. He has a real chance of winning.”

Block said that through his education with the MCJ program, he learned a lot about digital video editing. He said that lead to him to approach Frontline America’s spokesperson Ben Bergquam, eager to work for Frontline America. 

According to Bergquam, Frontline America is a conservative news source with goals of spreading both Christian and conservative valleys to the youth in America. 

Bergquam, who had made a name for himself in the Central Valley for online video coverage, said that Block approached him eager to work and became a core member of his five-man team. Block mostly works in digital editing and helps to produce content for the website. 

Bergquam describes Block as a dedicated worker who makes no excuses when doing his job. 

“Eddie has not been given an easy life by any stretch he has been dealt a tough hand but I have never once heard him complain or make and excuse even once,” Bergquam said. “He is a guy who just goes and goes and goes and he gives and gives and gives. He just does.”

Bergquam talked about a documentary he and Block had worked on last year that required the two of them to take a trip to the U.S./Mexican border.  Bergquam said that the team had to walk miles at a time, which he thought Block would have a hard time because of his disability. But, he said, he was impressed by Block’s perseverance and commitment to their project. 

A political future

With graduation in view, Block now looks forward to starting his campaign and getting to work for his community. 

“Between homework and running for officer it’s pretty crazy and daunting,” Block said. “I’m just looking forward to graduating so I can focus on my campaign.”

Bergquam described block as the perfect candidate to represent his community. 

“I think he’s the exact representation we need,” Bergquam said. “We need people who are in it for the right reasons to uphold the values of his community, he won’t make an excuse and will listen to anyone around him.  If we had more people like him in office our country would be in a better place.” 

Block said a major influence came when his wife opened up a thrift store in Downtown Madera. he business was unsuccessful due to a large homeless population in the area, he said. According to Block he got a first hand look at the large number of homeless population and wanted to do what he can to start more programs to help them. 

 “I saw problems in my community and I felt like someone needs to do a better job in fixing it and I feel like I can do that job better than the people already there,” Block said.

“There’s just so many different issues in Madera that need to be fixed and I know we don’t have the money to fix everything but I think the way they spend the money is not wisely enough and we can start more programs to help. But, when I say I’m going to do something,  I do it. You tell me I can’t do something I’m going to prove you wrong.”

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